Is vaping bad for fertility?

Whether vaping impact male and female fertility may be a moot point, given the serious health risks vaping appears to have

Vaping (the use of e-cigarettes) has over the last few years not only created a new multi-billion dollar industry but has exploded on the scene, with millions of people vaping all around the world under the widely propagated claim that vaping is less hazardous than cigarette-smoking. Over the last few months, this widely held opinion has, however, radically changed and vaping has faced increasingly severe criticism as well as legal restrictions from states and the federal government since hundreds of mostly younger people have fallen severely ill with an, at times fatal, pulmonary disease, which medical experts in the field so-far do not understand in etiology. Over a dozen deaths have been reported so-far.

Does vaping lower your fertility? Photo by Thomas Stephan via Unsplash.

These facts alone make the question what impact vaping may have on fertility almost moot. Considering the hundreds of afflicted individuals and too many deaths, everybody who still vapes does so at his/her own peril and really should immediately stop, at least until the mystery of this new lung disease is resolved and, hopefully treatments are developed. In other words, as of this moment, nobody should vape and certainly not anybody considering pregnancy or already pregnant.

Considering all of these circumstances, it was a surprise that a recent study in the medical literature did not receive more attention. The study reported that, in a mouse model, maternal vaping reduced the chance of embryos to implant and, therefore, to establish a pregnancy.

The lead author of the study, Kathleen Caron, PhD, from the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, summarized her group’s mouse study in a press release as, “having demonstrated that vaping delays implantation of fertilized embryos, thereby delaying and reducing fertility in mice. In addition, if used throughout pregnancy, long-term health and metabolism of especially female offspring were negatively affected, imparting lifelong, second generation effects of growing fetuses.”

Though humans are obviously not mice, the important messages this study carry is that it does not matter how a woman is exposed to nicotine. Whether via smoking or vaping, damages are, likely, similar.

This is a part of the October 2019 CHR VOICE.

Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned specialist in reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.